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Poster: Staraker Date: Dec 30, 2010 11:06am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

Except that the Transitional Savings of the 1956 Act (Schedule 7) clearly states:

14. Section thirteen shall not apply to cinematograph films made before the commencement of that section.
15. Where a cinematograph film made before the commencement of section thirteen was an original dramatic work within the definition of "dramatic work" set out in paragraph 9 of the Eight Schedule to this Act (being the definition thereof in the Act of 1911), the provisions of this Act, including the provisions of this Schedule other than this paragraph, shall have effect in relation to the film as if it had been an original dramatic work within the meaning of this Act; and the person who was the author of the work for the purposes of Act of 1911 shall be taken to be the author thereof for the purposes of the said provisions as applied by this paragraph.

The 1988 Act maintains the status of existing films under the terms of the 1956 Act, which for pre-1 June 1957 films was as "dramatic works" in the terms of the 1956 Act, which was last author's death plus 50 years. Since the 1995 Amendment to the 1988 Act bumped "dramtic works" copyright to 70 years, anyone would be hard-pressed to indentify a pre-1 June 1957 or post-31 July 1989 film that is genuinely not still in copyright in the UK. Films released between 1 June 1957 and 31 July 1989 are progressively lapsing under the flat 50 year term, but that's a separate issue.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 30, 2010 2:59pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

@Staraker

It is still debatable as to whether the transitional savings regarding pre-57 films are as clear cut as you say. The debate seems to be that the later transitional savings refer to unpublished and unregistered films. This stems from the fact that the 1956 seems to encompass films "published and registered under FORMER enactments" in section 13 (with a 50 year copyright term) and then take films films "made" (but not published and registered) before the commencement of the act out of the bargain.

Also, the actual calculation for works of multiple authorship carried over from the 1911 Act was 50 calendar years from the date of the first dying author or the actual date of death of the last remaining author, whichever occurs later. The 50 years post mortem last living author rule was defined in the 1988 Act.

We also have to take into account that works of pseudonymous or anonymous authorship atract only atracted only a 50 years from publication period so films that do not clearly credit all of their authors, or who's authors use names other than their legal name are not included in a post mortem copyright calculation.

Then we have issues of relevant subject matter protection in British films which might have made them ineligible for GATT, because after all, it is the US status of the works that we are interested in. Not the British.

@Moongleam

Unfortunately as the US has no rule-of the-shorter-term the 1957,58 and 59 and (tomorrow) 1960 British Films that have entered the public domain are still copyright in the US. British rights companies argue that while the "film" might have entered the public domain the underlying rights "script", "soundtrack" etc. keep the films under their control. Even though their are clear grandfather clauses in UK law that prevent these applications.

I said ages ago that British rights holders are the worst for accepting that their works are out of copyright. I know of at least one Australian distributor that has had to take out numerous injunctions against the two major British film copyright owners over false threats of copyright action.

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Poster: Staraker Date: Dec 31, 2010 1:45am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

Sorry, but on what do you base the claim that, "the later transitional savings refer to unpublished and unregistered films"? Paragraphs 14 & 15 are the only ones in the Seventh Schedule of the 1956 Act that deal with films, and I quoted them verbatim. Publication or registration is not mentioned at all, only that it applies to films, "made" before the 1956 Act came into effect. Effectively the 1956 Act says that existing films retained the same status as "dramatic works" they had under the 1911 Act, and this is reinforced by Schedule 1 of the 1988 Act:

"(1) No copyright subsists in a film, as such, made before 1st June 1957.
(2) Where a film made before that date was an original dramatic work within the meaning of the
1911 Act, the new copyright provisions have effect in relation to the film as if it was an original dramatic work within the meaning of Part I."

In other words, if a film was a dramatic work under the 1911 Act, it remained a dramatic work under the terms of the 1956 Act (yes, my error - still 50 year after first author's death), and subsequently under the terms of the 1988 Act, as amended in 1995 (70 years after last author's death).

There is nothing in Section 13 of the 1956 Act that refers to existing films - certainly nothing that matches your quote of "published and registered under FORMER enactments". Pre-1956 Act films are clearly and unambiguously dealt with in the Seventh Schedule.

As you say, the American status of films is what is important here, but that doesn't excuse misrepresentation of what their British status is, and the proof of the pudding is very much in the eating. If - as you repeatedly claim - pre-1956 Act films are also covered by its terms of 50 years after registration or publication, then Britain should be awash with openly-declared public domain releases of films registered or published before 1 January 1961, but it's not.

You say, "I said ages ago that British rights holders are the worst for accepting that their works are out of copyright." Maybe that's just because in the vast majority of cases they aren't!

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 31, 2010 3:23am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

It has been argued that 13 3 a) in the 1956 act allows "copyright" to apply to an existing film work if it was registered under the the Cinematograph Films Act 1938. The contentious words are that the copyright would continue to subsist until 50 calendar years after the registration date. It is further argued that this clause was interpreted as having this application in the 1988 act in Scedule 1 12 2 (e) having the 1956 terms apply to "published films and films falling within section 13(3)(a) of the 1956 Act (films registered under former enactments relating to registration of films)". The argument is that there is a separate class of films from films published under the 1956 (ie film registered under acts that existed prior to the 1956 act) that is specifically granted the copyright terms of the 1956 Act or else there would not be need for a specific reference as registration was required for publication. And further that films continued to be protected as a dramatic work were not part of the pervue of 13 3 (a) and are again a separate class of film that was neither published under the 1956 Act nor registered under the 1938 Act.

These points have been debated in parliament and in a number of scholarly legal journals. There is no definitive case judgement on the issues.

British copyright is complicated. There are rationales for pre 1957 registered films being out of copyright. There are rationales for pre 1957 films being in copyright. There are rationales for these films' lasped US copyrights not being restored by GATT/URAA legislation. I have tried to cover all of these rationales many times on this forum. To allow people to make their own judgements about the appliction of UK and US law to British films that lost their copyright in the US prior to URAA.

Your idea that the lack of PD releases of pre 1957 films confirms their copyright status is not particularly effective because there is also a distinct lack of 1957, 58 and 59 British films widely destributed as public domain products (even though they are unquestionably PD). There is not a very large US public domain film market in the UK compared with other markets. I have always thought that it could have something to do with the confusing way that rule of the shorter term is applied in the UK coupled with the confusing way that copyright is applied to film in he UK. Add to this the film copyright lobby and you have a minefield through which many distributors fear to tread. In this thread it has been shown that a legal representitive of a major UK rights holder, under penalty of perjury, requested the take down of a public domain US film that said company never held proprietary rights in. And you wonder why Britain isn't awash with public domain releases.

It simply comes down to ambiguity. There is no clear, definitive rationale for determining the copyright status of these film works. Where there is a clear rationale and no major copyright lobby hot on the companies' tails (such as the area of sound recordings) there is a vibrant public domain market.

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Poster: Staraker Date: Dec 31, 2010 8:10am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

Sorry, but that seems like wishful thinking of monumental proportions. 1956 Part II, Section 13 (3) (a) sets out the terms of copyright for films under the 1956 Act, but this is obviously for films registered/published once it becomes law, because the Seventh Schedule 14 & 15 of the 1956 Act clearly state that pre-existing films are treated as dramatic works, not films covered by Section 13. Since pre-existing films are specifically not covered by any part of 1956 Part II, Section 13 then they're not covered by 1988 Schedule 1 12. (2) (e) either, because they're actually covered by Schedule 1 Section 7. (1) & (2), i.e.:

"(1) No copyright subsists in a film, as such, made before 1st June 1957.
(2) Where a film made before that date was an original dramatic work within the meaning of the
1911 Act, the new copyright provisions have effect in relation to the film as if it was an original dramatic work within the meaning of Part I."

This is complex, but not "complicated." Reference to the 1938 Act is a red herring, since that was concerned with what constitutes a British film for the purposes the quotas to protect British film production. It had nothing to do with copyright.

If the case for pre-1957 films being all/mostly PD was as clear-cut as you claim, we would see concrete evidence of it, but we simply don't, and the lack of late-1957, 1958, and 1959 claimed PD releases does not "confirm" what you suggest it does. A potential back-catalogue of 2 years and 7 months' of films is not equivalent to output of many decades in terms of being of interest to commercial exploitation. If everything pre-31 December 1959 was genuinely PD in the UK under the rationale you are claiming, don't you think even a handful of media entrepreneurs would have attempted to exploit them?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 31, 2010 4:00pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

The primary argument, presented by the legal scholars who have discussed these points in their work, is that the spirit of the reference to the CFA 1938 in the 1956 and 1988 Acts effectively links the post 1956 concept and terms of film copyright to the acts of registration carried out under the previous CFAs.

The strongest evidence of the obfuscation in the application of the law is the major rights organisation and film copyright lobby's desire not to have this confusion clarified in case law. They rarely pursue copyright cases on these films. For example, this past Halloween one public domain distributor released quite a number of US and UK horror films from the late 50s on DVD to Poundland stores. The copyright lobby sent cease and desists on behalf the UK titles' "rights owners". The stores took them off the shelves waiting for further cofirmation of the copyright status from the rights group. When that was not forthcoming the DVDs were returned to the shelves. Then the copyright lobby incorrectly reported them as unclassified. After another short spell off the shelves, the dvds were eventually returned to sale and sold without further legal complications. However, the distributor seems to have been turned off the PD film market and now only distributes music.

There is little exploitation of these films beacuse there is an entire industry that does not allow it to happen. There are a few media companies that use these films. Orbit, Waterfall, Delta, Archive Media and others all use a number of pre 1959 UK films but, with the pursuit of companies for acts that could be perfectly legal, it is understandable that they are careful with their content and are tending towards the use of cheap licensed material.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-01 00:00:52

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Poster: Staraker Date: Jan 2, 2011 4:09am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

It would be useful if you could provide easily-assessible citations to, "the legal scholars who have discussed these points in their work." IANAL (obviously), but it very much seems to me that any such reference to the Cinematograph Films Act is a straw being clutched by those desperately looking for a loophole. Looking at the 1956 Act, the CFA is being used in Section 13. (3) (a) & (b) merely as a means of determining when the clock starts ticking on the flat 50 years terms for new films after that Act (1956) becomes law, i.e. the registration date for registerable films, and publication date for those that are not registrable. The Seventh Schedule is then very clear, firstly that Section 13 does not apply to films made before the Act becomes law, and secondly that such films classed as dramatic works under the 1911 Act continue to be dramatic works under the terms of the 1956 Act.

When we come to the 1988 Act, Schedule 1 Section 7 (1) & (2) are clear that films "made before 1 June 1957" are not regarded as "films" but - where applicable - as "dramatic works" under the new provisions of the 1988 Act. Section 12 (2) (e) does then indeed state that the terms of the 1956 Act continue to apply to, "published films and films falling within section 13(3)(a) of the 1956 Act (films registered under former enactments relating to registration of films)." This is indeed "useful," as it confirms that such films (i.e. 1 June 1957 onwards) continue to be protected for 50 years flat after registration or publication," but the Seventh Schedule of the 1956 Act explicitly excluded pre-1 June 1957 films from being covered by that Section. Since such films weren't covered by 1956 Section 13, they cannot suddenly become covered by them by the 1988 Act, especially since 1988 Schedule 1 Section 7 (1) & (2) says they are - where applicable - dramatic works.

To be frank, your suggestion that, "the reference to the CFA 1938 in the 1956 and 1988 Acts effectively links the post 1956 concept and terms of film copyright to the acts of registration carried out under the previous CFAs" seems ludicrous. It is clear that reference to the CFA in the 1956 Act is merely to determine when the flat 50 years term starts for new films, and the bracketed comment in 1988 Schedule 1 Section 12 (2) (e) refers directly to 1956 Section 13 (3) (a), which we know did not apply to existing (i.e. pre-1 June 1957) films, as per the Seventh Schedule. The CFA had of course been repealed by then, so it is understandable that 1988 Schedule 1 Section 12 (2) (e) contains explanatory text about registration, alongside the reference to publication in the same sentence. The only purpose of the reference to the CFA is to say that for films dating between 1 June 1957 and 1 August 1989, the 50 years runs from either the registration date while the CFA was still in force, or the publication date after repeal. If there was a genuine intent to retrospectively apply the 1956 Act terms to pre-1 June 1957 films, one would expect to see clear an unequivocable statement to that effect, not have it buried in what some may choose to regard as potentially ambiguous wording in a single sentence. One might be able to push that interepretation in the absence of 1988 Schedule 1 Section 7 (1) & (2), but they clearly discount it.

More to the point, if the 1988 Act had retrospectively applied the 1956 terms to pre-1 June 1957 films, that would have mean that from 1 August 1989, every film registered or published before 1 January 1939 would have fallen into the public domain, joined by the pre-1 January 1940 film on 1 January 1990, and so on. This would have been at the time when the sell-though market for VHS was growing exponentially, and it beggars belief to suggest that a huge back-catalogue of films that could be genuinely argued to be public domain would not have been exploited, and - if necessary - the legal position tested and clarified in a court of law, if that were indeed the case.

My own personal opinion is that the UK PD lobby (if we can use such a term) does have a legitimate arguement that a very large number of British films are clearly and genuinely in the public domain, and anyone with the inclination should be able to exploit them as such, free from legal harrassment, but they absolutely do not benefit from trying to expand the "pool" of such films outside of the definitions of what the relevent Acts clearly state and mutually reinforce. Unequivocably, everything between 1 June 1957 and 31 December 1960 is now public domain, to be joined progressively year-by-year by everything upto and including 31 July 1989.

There is also a convincing argument for a number of pre-1 June 1957 films, where the original copyright had expired before 1 August 1989, given that 1988 Schedule 1 Section 5 ["Subsistence of copyright"] (1) states: "Copyright subsists in an existing work after commencement only if copyright subsisted in it immediately before commencement." In other words, if the copyright had already lapsed under 1956 Act terms, it did not come back into copyright, even if it would have been covered by 1988 Act terms. Effectively this would mean any film where either the writer and director had died before 1 January 1939, using the "first death + 50 years" rule, unless the first author died before publication, in which case (if I'm reading the 1956 Act correctly) it would be the date of publication + 50 years.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 31, 2010 4:38pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

July 1957-Dec 59 films.

The lack of wide release of these films does confirm the heavy handed pursuit of legal public domain users of films where the rights have lapsed under the 1956 Act by the UK film copyright lobby. This short period of film production includes some of the most exploitable British commercial films of all time (the early Hammer films, Carry On films, etc etc).

These films are entirely in the pubic domain as the copyright term has expired and a proviso that no copyright in an underlying dramatic, literary, artistic or musical work is infringed by their publication ("causing them to be seen, or seen and heard, in public") post expiration is inherent in their copyright terms.

The main reasons I can see for the lack of exploitation of these films in the UK are the vigorous pursuit by the film copyright lobby of PD users of these films and confusion about the application of the 1995 extensions of copyright.

The films of 1960 have just entered the UK public domain about half an hour ago as I write. Lets see if any of this changes as more and more commercially exploitable films enter the public domain. Personally, I think that there will probably be legislative change removing further grandfather clauses from the schedules before we see widespread, unhindered use of public domain films in the UK.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-01 00:38:43

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Poster: Staraker Date: Jan 2, 2011 5:31am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

It's difficult to comment on cases such as the Poundland one without knowing the specific titles in question. Annecdotally, however, it seems that a lot of these small distributors are wilfully or ignorantly relying more on the PD status of films in the US. It may be that some of their titles are also genuinely PD in the UK, but they effectively get hit by the shrapnel in the process of the ones that aren't being targeted by the rights owners.

It is hardly surprising that the rights owners are prepared to pursue illicit releases of material that as per my understanding of the various Acts are still in copyright, but it is also hardly surprising of they knowingly "try it on" in the cases of the post-1 June 1957 films that are not. I would not, however, read too much in any apparent or even actual disinclination to escalate to actual legal action. One could equally say that it is the disinclination to resist to that level on the part of the publishers claiming PD status that means that none have gone to court. For example, you say that the distributor in the Poundland case has dropped its claimed PD releases, which may very well be as a result of discussions with the "copyright lobby" that we are not party to, and disposing of the existing stock may have been an agreed part of that.

At time progresses and the pool of post-1 June 1957 films grows, it may very well be that the weight of arguement shifts more in favour of the PD lobby, but it almost certainly will require a valid legal judgement before the floodagtes truly open. It strikes me that part of the problem is that those distributors attempting to exploit PD material are responding individually, rather than collectively. Each one may lack the resources to legal resist bogus C&Ds from claimed rights owners, but working together they may be able to do mso successfully.

This post was modified by Staraker on 2011-01-02 13:31:25

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 3, 2011 12:55am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

All of the films used in the poundland case were 1950s sci-fi and horror films. The films were a mix of public domain US films and one UK film from 1958 (The Fiend Without a Face).

I understand that such organisations might "try it on" with the post 57 PD films, but this seemed more like a vendetta. The information I have was that no agreement was reached between the distributor and the copyright agency. The copyright agency simply left them alone after all avenues were exhausted. However, the experience turned the distributor off their interest in DVD movie distribution.

The copyright owners and representitives are able to use these sorts of heavy-handed tactics because there are no sufficient remedies in UK law against the misrepresentation of copyright ownership. If they tried these tactics in Australia or the US they would be liable to damages, fines and criminal charges, if someone effected pursued those avenues.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-03 08:55:35

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Poster: Staraker Date: Jan 3, 2011 6:40am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

I take it that you're talking about the Archive Media Publishing Ltd./"Cayman Classic Horror" series? If so, I'd dispute your earlier claim that, "the copyright lobby incorrectly reported them as unclassified," as it's clear from the BBFC database that a number of the titles had never been classified for video release by any distributor, let alone Archive Media, e.g. King of the Zombies. Of the five titles that were initially pulled because they lacked BBFC certificates on the covers, Atom Age Vampire had never been previously certified for either cinema or video, Horrors of Spider Island & The Monster Walks had no previous video certfication and had actually been rejected for the cinema, and The Monster Maker & The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues only had previous cinema certificates. Archive Media retrospectively had the five titles certified for video on 09-10 November, but they are in fact the only one from this series that they did submit (in fact, Archive Media only appear to have submitted nine titles for certification in all). It's highly doubtful that for the rest that any of the previous video certifications (some of which are more than ten years old) could have been legimately transfered to Archive Media.

The above is, of course, a separate issue from the copyright status of each individual film, but it clearly indicates that this particular distributor had scant regards for how things should be done. Did they actually have a clue what they were doing? Or did they think they could get away with wilfully ignoring the law on certification if they churned the discs out as quickly and cheaply as possible over a limited time period?

I would question whether existing or prospective genuine public domain distributors are as powerless as you suggest. No, there are no specific penalties for misrepresenting copyright ownership - whether in genuine error or as wilful harrasment - but any company whose legitimate business is affected by such actions would certainly be able to sue for appropriate damages in general terms. Again we come back to the apparent unwillingness of those supplying purportedly public domain material in the UK to press their case legally, and that's the only way any legal precedence is going to be set.

This post was modified by Staraker on 2011-01-03 14:40:14

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 3, 2011 6:37am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

I can only go on what people tell me. It is just as likely that, as the company who ordinarily deals with music releases (generally with certification exemption), they might have innocently overlooked the certification requirements of their first collection of feature films. They also may have received bad ratings advice from their licensor, misinterpreted the requirements to re-certify a film for home video that had been certified for cinema (my understanding of the regulations is that they could legally rely on a previous video certification if the film contained in their DVD was the exact same film submitted for the video certification and no material was removed or added, whereas they could not rely on cinema rating because of the change of format).

I think, based on the tone of your posts that it is becoming increasingly clear that you have some undeclared vested interest here.

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Poster: Staraker Date: Jan 3, 2011 8:53am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

Sorry, but that won't wash. A simple Google shows that "Archive Media Publishing" is self-declared as being a "new company," but that doesn't excuse an ignorance of the business area they're attempting to move into. This is reinforced by this (found only a few minutes ago):

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/59563/pages/19025/page.pdf

This notification of a dispute with the MCPS suggests that there are issues around their music releases, as well, since without a licence they are - obviously - unlicensed. This seems a bit like someone setting up a restaurant while failing to address local Health & Safety or Environmental Health rules.

LOL! "Undeclared vested interest"?! I work for the National Health Service (you know - doctors, hospitals, etc.), not any media company, law firm, the BBFC, FACT, MCPS, or whatever. A few years back - as I previously made quite clear - I was involved in one DVD release of one 1936 film (i.e. Things to Come). As I also said back then, if would actually suit my own interests if that film could be proved to be in the public domain in the UK, since I run an extensive website about it. The same applies to a lesser degree to a 1957 (pre-1 June) film that I intend to devote similar (although not as extensive) attention to (i.e. Yangtse Incident). However, my own reading of the various UK copyright legislation leads me to the conclusion that neither film can be argued as being in the public domain in the UK, although clearly Yangste Incident would have been, had it been released a few months later.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 3, 2011 4:28pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

The notice you linked:

COPYRIGHT DESIGNS AND PATENTS ACT 1988
COPYRIGHT TRIBUNAL REF 116/10
Notice is hereby given of a reference to the Copyright Tribunal under sections 119(1)(a) and 121(1) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 by Archive Media Publishing Ltd, The Barn, Cutler’s Farm Business Centre, Edstone, Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire, B95 6DJ (Reg No 04073150) (the Applicant).
A dispute has arisen between the Applicant and the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Ltd (MCPS), Copyright House, 29-33 Berner’s Street, London WIT 3AB (the Respondent) concerning the Respondent’s refusal to grant a DVD1 Agreement licence in accordance with the MCPS DVD1 scheme and the alleged imposition of additional conditions on the Applicant prior to admittance to the scheme. The
Applicant seeks a DVD1 Agreement licence which it contends is in accordance with the standard conditions of the MCPS DVD1 scheme.
Any organisation or person wishing to object to the Applicant’s credentials or wishing to be made a party to the proceedings should apply to the Secretary of the Copyright Tribunal in the manner prescribed in Part 1V the Copyright Tribunal Rules 2010, within 28 days from publication of this notice.
Catherine Worley, Secretary, Copyright Tribunal, 21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3HF. Email catherine.worley@ipo.gov.uk(1216697)


Where does it say that their music releases are unlicensed? Where does it even suggest or imply that their musical releases are unlicensed? This appears to be a normal dispute arising with a statutory mecahnical licensing body during the licensing process. All it says is that they are in the process of applying for a statutory licensing scheme which has been denied and the company is applying to the copyright tribunal to resolve the dispute.

As you are now getting into specific statements about specific organisations that could be potentially interpreted as libellous I think I am going to leave you alone on this one.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-04 00:28:10

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Poster: Staraker Date: Jan 4, 2011 12:48am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

That's an interesting reaction, since you've not been shy about throwing various accusations at other parties, e.g. your demonstrably spurious claim that, "the copyright lobby incorrectly reported [Archive Media's DVDs] as unclassified."

It is, however, not "libellous" to speculate as to the possible situation behind the above notice. Clearly Archive Media Publishing thought that they needed a DVD1 Agreement licence when they applied for one, but the MCPS refused. The notice was published on 1 October 2010, yet it seems that the company has been offering for supply or actually supplying music DVDs in the UK since 2008. Either they applied for the DVD1 licence because they were about to release material for which one was required, or they were retrospectively applying for a licence they should have had earlier (perhaps someone else with more time/inclination can determine if their existing music DVDs would have required it). How much of the benefit of the doubt they can be given can be judged by the clear evidence that they did not apply for any BBFC certification for some of their film DVDs until after they were pulled up about some of them not being certified, while others remain uncertified for video release. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the dispute, especially the reasons why the MCPS chose to refuse Archive Media's application in the first place.

This post was modified by Staraker on 2011-01-04 08:48:39

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Jan 4, 2011 2:33am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

They are disputing refusal to grant a DVD1 Agreement. A DVD1 Agreement is a user reported blanket licensing system, whereby the registered user reports their usage of repertoire music and pays royalties on a quarterly basis. As this is not the only way to license musical works for inclusion in DVD videos (mechanical and synchronisation licenses are available on a single case-by-case basis) there is no valid foundation to support the "speculation" that the company has released unlicensed music videos.

Where I have spoken in general terms and not mentioned the names of specific organisations, you have effectively accused a specific organisation of an illegal act that you have no evidence that they have committed. This is an area I am not willing to go into further.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-04 10:33:59

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Poster: Staraker Date: Jan 4, 2011 7:57am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

I can't help wondering if you would be so keen to disengage if some supposed transgression by "the rights lobby" was being highlighted? Yes, you do seem fond of speaking "in general terms" and not naming "specific organisations," yet in the Poundland case you gave enough away for it to be analysed and - to be frank - your version of what happened to be found wanting.

No, a DVD1 licence is not the only way of licensing musical works on DVD, and it may very well be that Archive Media Publishing had previously and quite properly obtained individual one-off licences. On the other hand, an initial search of the London Gazette and IPO websites suggests that this is the first case of the MCPS has been taken to the Copyright Tribunal for not granting a DVD1 licence, quite apart from the fact that cases actually going to that Tribunal in general are pretty rare to begin with. This is obviously an exceptional case, and the full facts have yet to become known. AMP may very well be entirely "innocent," but the fact that they demonstrably ignored - or were ignorant of - the relevant legislation in relation to BBFC certification of their film DVDs certainly tells us something about the "character" of the company. I would suggest that were this case actually newsworthy, such additional "circumstantial evidence" would be seen as significant enough to be included in any reportage.

Your faux outrage at VMP's business practices being highlighted or questioned rings rather hollow when viewed alongside your constant accusations against the UK "rights lobby" for real, imagined, or speculated wrongs on their part. You also falsely accused me of having some "vested interest" in outlining my interpretation of UK copyright legislation, although in a very real sense I, as a UK citizen and resident, clearly have more of a legitimate interest in the laws of my own country than someone from outside of it who seems very much to be pushing their interpretation of the same legislation, in what I can only presume is in furtherance of their own vested interest.

As I said some time ago, my understanding of that legislation does not prevent me from doing anything that I am actively doing. In some respects, in fact, it confirms that certain things I am doing (i.e. use of photographs from Things to Come* on my website), I am free to do so with impunity. I also fully intend to take advantage of the lapse of the copyright on all of H.G. Wells works, but am patient enough to wait until 1 January 2017, since six years is not much, and also it's enough time to work on what will be quite a large project at the same time as "the day job."

I do actually think that it would be good if what I understand to be the terms of the 1956 Act as regards 1 June 1957 to 31 July 1989 films could be properly established in law, and I would be the first to condemn any individual or organisation that tried to claim rights over any such film contrary to them. Perhaps what is needed is an accurate database of British films that records when they were registered/released, and when they entered or will enter the public domain.

Nice blog, though. I'll have to take the time to look through the Sherlock Holmes stuff when I'm not at work!

This post was modified by Staraker on 2011-01-04 15:57:15

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Dec 31, 2010 7:34am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

... a legal representitive of a major UK rights holder, under penalty of perjury, requested the take down of a public domain US film that said company never held proprietary rights in.

If that was an honest mistake, then those creatures are so subhumanly stupid that I wouldn't hire them to clean my windshield. And that is the literal truth.

It simply comes down to ambiguity. There is no clear, definitive rationale for determining the copyright status of these film works.

The arrogant lamebrains who create these "laws" ought to learn how to write clearly and unambiguously instead of pompously and pretentiously churning out convoluted obfuscation.

Since the status of these films is unclear, I'm beginning to think that they shouldn't be uploaded here.

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Dec 30, 2010 5:33pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

Why doesn't Alpha Video sell the Will Hay films and other pre-1946 British films such as "They Drive by Night"?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffVideo-Cellar Date: Dec 30, 2010 8:02pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

As I have said in the past, copyright terms on pre-1957 UK films can be controversial as lawyers debate the wording, meaning and application of the various transitional savings (grandfather clauses), whereas the terms for July 1957 to August 1989 films (50 years flat) and films from August 1989-present (70 years after the date of death of the last surviving principle author) are incontrovertible. The film companies use the confusion about the different rules and regular misinformation they present through their industry bodies to scare people away from using the films, even the July 1957 - Dec 1959 ones that are clearly in the public domain in the UK.

As I have said before many times - these films generally don't get used because their former copyright owners do not accept any copyright calculation other than the current 70 years postmortem regardless of what the genuine copyright status of the film is.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2010-12-31 04:02:02

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Dec 30, 2010 9:08pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

Sinister Cinema sells these British films:

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT (1938)
GHOST OF ST. MICHAELS (1941) [Will Hay]
MAN WHO LIVED AGAIN (aka THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND) [Karloff]
Riverside Murder (1935)
Spellbound (1941)
Terror House (1942)
A Shot in the Dark (1933)

It's too bad that we don't know whether they're paying royalties.

Is there a website that agrees with your understanding of the 1956 act?

Since the lawyers are still debating this issue, perhaps British films shouldn't be uploaded here.


This post was modified by Moongleam on 2010-12-31 05:08:06

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Dec 30, 2010 1:25pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

If this is correct, it explains a lot. I was wondering why there seemed to be no knowledge of pre-1946 public domain films in the U.K.

Under the 50-year rule, these are public domain?

The One That Got Away (1957)
Your Past Is Showing (1957)

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Poster: Staraker Date: Dec 31, 2010 1:47am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Sinister Cinema FAKE copyright claims.

The "start" date is 1 June 1957. There's no UK release date for 'The One That Got Away' on IMDB, but the it was reviewed in 'The Guardian' of 12 October and 'The Times' of 14 October, so it's unlikely it dates from before 1 June. 'Your Past Is Showing' was released on 3 December 1957, so should also be covered by the 1956 legislation.